A new fast-casual dining concept — billing itself as “a fast-from-scratch kitchen serving East Mediterranean style bowls, wraps, and pita pockets” — is headed to Detroit’s Midtown district with the January opening of Falafill at 4206 Woodward, just south of the Whitney Restaurant.
“When it comes to Mediterranean food, falafel is probably the most common (dish) that people know,” says Kassem Fardoun, owner of the Detroit restaurant and former owner of Crazy’s Pizza in Dearborn Heights and Westland. “It can take up to 30 minutes to get a meal at a traditional (sit-down) Arabic restaurant. I’m giving it to you in less than five (minutes).”
Chef Maher Chebaro, who opened the first location in Chicago in 2010, developed the model. Here’s how it works: Patrons select a filling — classic falafel, curry falafel, steak, turkey, chicken, or spicy sujuk sausage — along with a bowl, pita pocket, or wrap.
Using fresh ingredients, the restaurant — which recently merged with Chicago-based Forever Brands, the company behind Forever Yogurt — aims to be a healthy alternative to fast food, Fardoun says. Side dishes include French fries, house fried, sweet potato fries, basmati or brown rice, lentil soup, and pita chips.
Once he gets his feet wet with the Woodward location, Fardoun says he plans to open two additional storefronts by the end of 2016. One will likely be in Troy or Ann Arbor, with the other headed for Campus Martius in downtown Detroit. “I own all of the rights for Michigan, and I’m planning on franchising just about everywhere in Michigan,” he says.
While the Woodward location will be the standard express version, Fardoun says he’s considering an expanded concept, complete with servers and an alcohol offering, for the Campus Martius location.
The new location, set to open Jan. 5, will seat up to 20 people indoors, with plans calling for outdoor seating in the spring. For more information, visit eatfalafill.com.